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Thursday 15 January 2015

'The First Horseman' by D. K. Wilson

Published by Sphere,
28 August 2014, 
ISBN 978-0-7515-5036-8

The Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times' seems well illustrated here - we are in London in 1536 as Queen Anne is executed, monasteries attacked by the State and, in the North, a rising against the King begins.  The streets of London are awash with broadsides and pamphlets fuelled by the religious ferment of the day.  Our protagonist is a young goldsmith Thomas Treviot whose business is affected by the downturn that such troubled times brings.  He is also suffering from sad events in his own family. 

The crime that is the centre of this book is the murder of mercer Robert Packington - as he crossed Cheapside on his way to mass he was assassinated with a handgun.  This was a real  event and the murderer was never found.  Derek Wilson uses this real mystery as the centre of his book.  He offers a fictional version of events in which he weaves together real events and characters and imaginary ones

The background of the 1530s  is impeccably delineated.  The tumultuous politics of the 1530s provide a fascinating canvas for a murder mystery.  Religion is crucial as proponents of the New Learning  strive to enable all to read the bible in English.  Treviot  travels to Court and to Antwerp in search of the truth.  Thomas Cromwell features prominently.  Wilson makes a good case for his version of the crime and its perpetrators.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Derek Wilson is a historian with several other fictional mysteries to his credit.  He adds to this book the first chapter of the next adventure for Treviot, The Traitor' s Mark.

D K Wilson is an historian and an expert on the Tudor period, having already published acclaimed non-fiction books on Tudor England and Henry V111.  He lives in Devon.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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